Overwhelmingly, those facing mental health crises don’t need handcuffs. They need help.
Yet, more than 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year. Data also shows a troubling correlation between calls to 911 related to mental health crises and the incidence of excessive force. With our nation still in the throes of a long and overdue national conversation about systemic racism and the impact of policing on communities of color, it is critical that we find new ways to address individuals in crisis. This urgency is underscored by the approaching “second pandemic” of mental health crisis that the novel coronavirus has caused because of social isolation, economic disruption and traumatic stress.
Tragically for many people, particularly our Black and brown residents, the mental health challenges they may face during this pandemic will be exacerbated by long-standing health disparities and our society’s prevailing approach to those in crisis.The Washington Post